There's an annoying thing about getting older - the flaws in yourself that you've been able to successfully pretend aren't there become harder to ignore. Maturity, schmaturity.
I'm becoming increasingly aware that when people give me heartburn, I have that heartburn in part because my heart was already flammable. And the other person isn't to blame for that. I've heard of having a tender heart, but I've too much had a tinder heart.
So, now I have this annoying awareness that relational heartburn is a telltale sign my heart was already doused with lighter fluid.
It's not always the same kind of fuel - sometimes it's ego, sometimes it's control, sometimes it's an aversion to vulnerability, sometimes it's priorities out of balance. Whatever it is, it's almost like I pile a bunch of dry sticks together and then give you a lighter, just waiting to blame you for the conflagration about to happen.
Heartburn, then, should tell me to step back, take a breath, and be brutally honest with myself about the tinder and forget about the spark. Far more often than not, it's a pretty easy matter of identifying what it is about me that made the fire danger extreme.
So, it's just me, right?
(Image: Montana Public Radio)